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Rules of the Rows

Despite the crazy spring weather where warm fronts were followed by late freezes, the strawberry crop survived and pick-your-own strawberry farms are now open.“We are looking at a very good year for strawberries,” said Dexter Hill, a strawberry marketing specialist with the North Carolina Department of Agriculture. “We’re looking at very good yields.”For those headed out to pick strawberries, we sought advice from Curtis Smith, owner

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We Talk Wood Carving with Jamie Jones

Fans may recognize Jamie Jones from his previous brief appearances on “A Chef’s Life.” He built the henhouse for the family’s flock of chickens and competed in the potato salad contest in the “One Potato, Two Potato” episode in the third season.What fans don’t know is that Jones has been a longtime fixture in Vivian’s life. They went to middle school together and Vivian says, “Jamie was the hottest guy in the whole school. He was something.” Jones and his wife, Rebecc

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Food52 Cookbook Club Picks DEEP RUN ROOTS

This month, home cooks across the country are putting up jars of pickled beets, baking sweet potato and turkey shepherd’s pies and salivating over plates of marinated turnips with orange and pumpkin seeds.That’s because Vivian’s cookbook, “Deep Run Roots,” was selected by Food52’s readers to be the second book for its inau

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Our Favorite Bites On The Way To The Beach

Driving to the beach for vacation not only offers the opportunity for good food at your final destination but also along the way. With that in mind, we offer three tasty destinations no matter where you are headed along the North Carolina coast.  Crystal CoastFor those going to the Crystal Coast, enjoy the shrimp burger at El’s Drive-In in Morehead City, which Vivi

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Support A Chef's Life, Buy Some Holiday Gifts

This is the time of year when you can knock two items off your to-do list: • Make a dent in your holiday shopping• Support your favorite PBS showAll purchases in the Chef's Life online store go to support the making of the show, which viewers have grown to love over the last five seasons. The funding

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A CHEF’S LIFE Season 5: When to Watch

Check below to find out when A CHEF’S LIFE Season 5 is airing on your local PBS Station!*  If you do not see your station listed, check your local listings or call your station to let them know you are a fan of A Chef’s Life. ALABAMA • WBIQ AL PTV, Birmingham, AL at 11am Saturdays starting Oct. 28CALIFOR

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A Duke’s Story: Ben Knight’s Love Affair with Mayo

Viewers of “A Chef’s Life” know that there may be no bigger fan of mayonnaise than Vivian’s husband, Ben Knight. In episode 10 of season four, Vivian staged a blind taste test of various mayonnaise brands. Chef & the Farmer staff dipped their spoons and tasted, and competed to see who could identify them. While the taste test was a lot of fun, it also revealed Ben’s deep love of mayonnaise, like when he sneaked another tablespoonful or dipped a piece of bread full on into

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Holiday Shopping: Our Favorite 2017 Cookbooks

Are you looking for holiday gifts for the home cook in your life? We asked a few North Carolina cookbook authors to share their favorite books this year. Their suggestions and a few of our own are sure to make someone on your list very happy. Sheri Castle has written a number of excellent cookbooks including “https://www.amazon.com/New-Southern-Garden-Cookbook-Hom

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Between the Scenes: Kings BBQ & Parker's BBQ

In season five’s final episodes, Vivian visited two well-known barbecue restaurants in Eastern North Carolina: Parker’s BBQ in Greenville and Kings BBQ in Kinston. At Parker’s, Vivian dined on chicken livers. At Kings, she took away an order of “pig and a puppy,” a barbecue and coleslaw-stuffed hush puppy. If you are headed to eastern North Carolina this holiday season, you

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Between the Scenes: Vivian Brews Beer at Sierra Nevada

Last summer, Vivian visited Sierra Nevada brewery in Mills River, N.C., outside of Asheville. She went to watch Sierra Nevada’s vice president Brian Grossman and his team brew a cucumber thyme Saison for the “A Chef’s Life’s” premiere party this past September. Beyond helping create a refreshing beer, Vivian left with a ton of knowledge about the brewing process, Sierra Nevada, and how challenging cucumber is as a beer ingredient. She and Brian, whose father Ken started <a ta

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Between The Scenes: A Conversation with David Cecelski

No one may know more about eastern North Carolina history than David Cecelski, an accomplished historian who has spent his entire career focused on the place where he grew up. A Chef’s Life fans will recognize Cecelski from season five’s pear episode, where he and his daughter, Vera, showed Vivian how they make pear preserves. We wanted to share our interview with the Harvard-trained historian, encourage our fans to read his blog, and maybe be inspired by his advice to do their own

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Where You Want to Collect Everything

There’s nothing quite like the sight of a beautifully-laid table and the feeling of being fussed over enough for the hostess to pull out “the good china.” It’s a little known fact that Vivian is a sucker for elegant dishes, glassware and the other items that grace festive tables. Replacements, the Greensboro-based company

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A Twist on Mrs. Scarlett's Deviled Eggs

If you are going to make Easter eggs, you might as well boil some extra to make deviled eggs for the holiday meal. We’ve got some fun twists on Mrs. Scarlett’s Deviled Eggs from the egg episode in season two — added country ham, collards and chowchow to our filling. A few tips: make sure the butter is room temperature soft or it will be too hard to squeeze through the piping bag and nozzle. Read the recipe through first if you want to do a variation; the added ingredient can change the

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A Chef's Life Fans Share Their Le Creuset Stories

We asked “A Chef’s Life” fans to share stories about their beloved Le Creuset pots and pans. And boy did they have stories to tell — about their family heirlooms, how they splurged on a set for themselves or received them as gifts. One lucky fan even rescued a Dutch oven from a South Carolina landfill! Read all the endearing Everyday Le Creuset stories from A CHEF’S LIFE fans below.Family HeirloomsRussell Smit

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Get the Recipe: Vivian's Grilled Corn with Bacon Mayonnaise & Pecorino Romano

Just in time for Memorial Day weekend, we’re sharing Vivian’s recipe for grilled corn with — drumroll please — bacon mayonnaise. Once you try this recipe, you will not go back to plain, buttered corn. This recipe makes more bacon mayonnaise than you need but it’s also really good on baked potatoes, grilled asparagus and more. Here’s one more suggestion: If you are enjoying a grilled feast this weekend, we recommend you pair it with a beer from one of our show sponsors: Summer

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Bill Smith’s Atlantic Beach Pie

We may be late to the Atlantic Beach pie party but this recipe is still worth sharing.This creamy, citrusy pie with a cracker crust is the work of Bill Smith, the executive chef at the landmark Chapel Hill restaurant Crook’s Corner. Longtime fans of “A Chef’s Life” will be familiar with Smith, who showed Vivian how to make persimmon pudding in season five and corned ham in the “A Chef’s Life Holiday Special.” </

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Meet The Peanut Farmers and The Peanut Roasters

Marty and Donna Harper are peanut farmers. Betsy Owens, and her husband, Jack Lawrence, are peanut roasters. Beyond an affinity for this lowly legume, the couples have another connection: a patch of farmland in eastern North Carolina.The Harpers both come from long lines of farmers. Marty’s father, grandfather and great-grandfather were all small-scale farmers. Donna’s family was the same: “I’m a Lenoir County farmer’s daughter. I swore I’d never marry one. Now I’m raising two.” The

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Vivian Talks Duke's, the Cool Kids' Mayonnaise

In an interview about Duke’s Mayonnaise, Vivian Howard shares her conversion to the Southern brand and why mayo is so important to Southern food. The iconic Southern mayonnaise, based in Richmond, Virginia, is a proud sponsor of season five of A CHEF’S LIFE. Q: Did you grow up with Duke’s Mayonnaise?A: I grew up with Miracle Whip. I didn’t really understand Duke’s until I became part

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Get the Recipe: Vivian's Black Bean-Glazed Salmon

If you have been following the food television awards season, you may have heard that a video starring Vivian for Panna Cooking won a James Beard Foundation's broadcast award. The video featured Vivian making Black Bean-glazed Salmon with Ginger Cabbage, one of her family's favorite recipes. Panna Cooking is a website that offers online cooking classes from some of the best chefs in the co

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Talking Dirty: Vivian Shares How She Handles Laundry Woes

With twins and a busy career, there’s always a lot of laundry to be done in Vivian’s Kinston home. Vivian shared her laundry challenges and routine. Electrolux is a sponsor of “A Chef’s Life” and your resource for a full line of front-load washers and dryers.  What is the laundry routine in your house? Everybody does laundry. I hate folding laundry. I’m re

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Take a Road Trip to Kinston

A busload of “A Chef’s Life” fans took a road trip to Kinston for last month’s premiere of the show’s series finale, “The Final Harvest.” For some, it was a return visit. For others, it was a first chance to explore this eastern North Carolina city that’s now building a reputation as a food, drink and art destination. The bus trip, organized by the folks behind the NC Food & Beverage Podcast, turned

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Way Down Yonder in the Pawpaw Patch

What may be the largest pawpaw patch in North Carolina belongs to Wynn Dinnsen, owner of Full of Life Farms nursery in Chatham County. Dinnsen, 63, didn’t set out with such an ambition. He fell into it after tasting a pawpaw for the first time about 20 years ago while working as a landscaper. One day on the job, a man installing solar panels held up the strange, mango-like fruit and asked him h

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Vivian Howard’s Sunday Dinner Spaghetti Sauce

All parents strive to feed their children healthy meals — and Vivian Howard is no different. When it comes to this challenge, Howard, host of the award-winning PBS show, “A Chef’s Life,” has realized that she is drawn to leaner meats and dishes that allow her to add some vegetables but leave the eater unaware. Turkey has become one of her go-to lean meats over the years with her children. It started when the twins, Flo and Theo, were eating baby fo

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The First Pumpkin Pie (Sort Of)

On PBS’s “Autumnwatch New England,” Vivian took the risk of testing out what she believed could have been the first pumpkin pie recipe. We can assure it’s the most creative! This crust-less pie uses the pumpkin itself as the base, filling it in with a custard. Vivian recommends a fairytale or Cinderella pumpkin for the best flavor. Watch her explain the recipe on episode 3 of “Autumnwatch New England”

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How to pick the perfect wines for your holiday feasts

With all the holiday meals on the horizon, you may be in need of some expert advice on how to choose wines for those feasts. Peter Watson, who runs the wine programs at Biltmore Winery in Asheville, N.C., was happy to share his wisdom. Watson, who is originally from England, said he and his wife fell in love with North Carolina after visiting their daughter in Wilmington in 2001.